|Written by Senior Editor Greg Jacobs
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|All of Jacobs Atv Magazine below Project Quads are protected by Ricochet Skid Plates. When you ride the type of terrain we do you need the best protection, and Ricochet provides it.
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|Just look at the Can Am Aluminum front bash plate on the left. This is completely worthless. Look at the Ricochet Front Bash Plate on the right, and you can see how much more durable their skid plate is over the OEM skid plate.
Listen when you have a $12,500 investment you want to protect that investment with the best, and Ricochet Skid Plates provides that.
|This review has been a long time in the making. Just when I felt comfortable in giving an honest review, I wanted more time with these skid plates to make sure I thoroughly tested them out. I believe I have more than enough time, and terrain with these skid plates to know if they are worth buying. This review revolves around the Outlander 800EFI since this is the machine I tested them on. The same observations applies to other machines as well.|
|What are Skid Plates?|
|Let's start off by explaining what skid plates are. Skid plates protect the bottom of your machine from hard obstacles, such as rocks, stumps, etc... The picture to the right shows a full set of skid plates for the Outlander 800. Skid plates come in all different types of material, and configurations. Some portion of the skid plates just protect the frame or a-arms, while others protect the floorboards, and other critical areas. Most skid plates come in 3/16" Aluminum or 3/16" Polyethyne/Plastic. There are pros and cons which I will discuss later.|
|Who needs Skid Plates?|
|Who needs skid plates depends on your machine, and the type of terrain you will be riding. If you plan on riding rocky or rough terrain, or plan on really pushing your machine in difficult terrain, you may want a set of skid plates.|
|There is one machine that requires skid plates, and that is the Can Am Outlanders. This is one machine that skid plates are not an option, due to Can Am's frame design. If you ride well-groomed trails, and never plan on encountering an obstacle, you will be fine without skid plates. However, if you plan on rock crawling or riding super difficult terrain, skid plates are a must. I believed the Can Am marketing story about how this frame would slide and ski over obstacles. Well this belief ended when I was riding down an easy trail in Oklahoma at roughly 3mph when my machine came up and down over a small burm, only to land on a medium size rock. The picture below is the damage I sustained, and it did more than dent my frame, it split the frame. The frame split because the entire spar frame is hollow, and will not stand up to any heavy impacts. If you think this is an isolated incident, think again. There are many people who have done the same thing. When I bought my machine I was one of the first people to have one, and there were no skid plates on the market. Once this happen, I had to come up with a solution fast, since I didn't want to destroy my machine any further.|
|These two above pictures were sent from another person who buckled their frame from average riding.|
|Some people were so desperate to beef up their Outlander frame they literally cut the back out of the frame, and inserted welded square tubing into the frame.|
|Now, I mention all this not too bash the Outlander, but rather to point out how vunerable the frame really is. Ultimate protection is needed for this machine. If ever Ricochet Skid Plates should be tested on a machine, this is the machine to test it on. If it can protect this machine, it can protect any machine out there.|
|I contacted Don from Ricochet Skid plates, since I knew they produced some of the best skid plates on the market. Don told me he didn't have any Outlanders available for prototypes, and wanted to use my machine as the first prototype. The only problem was Don is located in Utah, and I am in Texas. We eventually hooked up Kevin Z, who has a OL 800EFI MAX, with Don, and the first set of Ricochet Skid Plates were designed for the Outlander. Once Don designed a second set for the regular Outlander 800 he mailed me a free set to test out. While waiting to receive them, I had to design my own set.|
|I needed something that was fast, and easy to work with, but something that would hold up, and protect this frame. I went with 3/8" UHMW, a hybrid of the standard polyethylene. The picture to the right is my homemade skid plate. While it worked great, it wasn't the best fit or workmanship. I pounded the heck out of these skid plates with no further damage to my macine, but I still didn't have any solution for the front a-arms. I used this set-up and was quite happy with it, and waited until the Ricochet Skids arrived to switch over.|
|Eventually, my Ricochet skid plates arrived, and this is how all the sections arrived. The skid plates are made up of 3/16" aluminum.|
|There are a few critical sections of this machine, and the footboards are one of them. The footrboards are aluminum, and can easily get hung up on obstacles, so protection is essential|
|This is the center section which provides excellent protection to the center of the frame, and footboards. It doesn't not get much better than this.|
|This is front left a-arm which provides excellent protection to the A-Arm, and CV Boots|
|The is the front bash portion which is the most vulnerable section of the Outlander. This is where all the damage occurs. Ricochet did an excellent job in beefing up and reinforcing this front portion.|
|This is the rear portion of the skid plate|
|How did they perform in the real world?|
|I have put well over 2,000 miles on my Outlander with the Ricochet skid plates. Given the damage I sustained without skid plates, I was anxious to see if the skid plates would protect it from further damage. I can say without a doubt these skid plates have completely protected my machine from further damage, and have done an excellent job. In addition they are easy to install, and install within an hour or so. Both J and I compared our Outlanders together, since we both use Ricochet skid plates on our Outlanders.|
|J's Outlander 800EFI|
|My Outlander 800EFI|
|J's front bash plate|
|My front bash plates|
|Like I stated before, this report has mainly focused on the Outlander, since I tested them out on this machine. Again if you plan to ride difficult terrain with your machine, I highly suggest getting the Ricochet skid plates.
Machines such as the Brute Force, Grizzly, and King Quad all come with thin plastic factory skid plates, which offer ample protection, but not enough for the super difficult terrain.
Honda comes with a thin factory aluminum skid plate which offers ample protection, and is slightly better than the above plastic skids.
Polaris comes with a built in steel skid plate which actually makes up it frame. I am not aware of aftermarket skid plates for the Polaris since they are not needed.
Outlander's come with no skid plate protection, and skid plates are needed.
I never owned a set of aftermarket skid plates until I bought my Outlander. After using and watching how well Ricochet Skid Plates have protected my Outlander, I will use them on our other machines. This skid plate is first rate quality, and fit like a glove. I highly suggest using these skids.
One negative is that the bolt heads protrude outward, and can be damaged or sheared off. I haven't had this issue, but J did. He had to cut off his heads, and replace them.
The Aluminum has held up well, but doesn't allow you to skid and slide over obstacles like the polyethylene skids.
There are not many negatives to these skid plates, and they are the best aluminum skid plates on the market.
|You can purchase these skid plates at Utah Sports Cycles, and they cost roughly $339 for a set. They offer skid plates for nearly every machine out there.
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|Other Reviews from Ricochet Owners|
|This review is from Scott, and here is what he had to say|
|I bought my full set of Ricochet skids from BC offroad on Ebay. The installation was pretty easy, although it would be nice if they used factory mount locations (more on that later). I ride some semi-rocky terrain in the New England Berkshires , which is the reason i wanted aluminum skids. My very first ride with these skids on and i hit a rock on the trail that pretty much destroyed my front skid and bent up the framework underneath it. I was able to use a big hammer and straighten it out enough to reuse it, but it's pretty wrecked. After using these skids for 5 or 6 rides, our riding season was over, so i wanted to take them off and give the machine a thorough cleaning. Problem was most of the allen head cap screws were so damaged from rocks they had to be cut off and replaced ( a major pain).If they used the factory mounting locations or even recessed the heads it would be a 100% improvement. I'll attach a few pics, unfortunately i only have one pic of the damaged skid before i straightened it. All in all i'm satisfied with these skids, especially the a-arm and cv boot protection, except for the reasons stated above. Scott Andrade East Haven, Ct. Note: In the picture of the frame damage, the damage to the ceter support and the right side of the picture is from when the Ricochet skid was on.The damage on the left side of the picture came while riding with the plastic skid back on while i was trying to repair the Ricochet one.|
|This review is from Aaron and the review he has done|
|There are only two machines that do not come with skid plates. One is the Outlander and the other is the Polaris. Can Am claims their frame does not need skid plates, and it will slide and ski over obstacles, however most owners agree skid plates are a must. Polaris has basically built a steel skid plate into its frame, and most owners agree it offers great protection, but Ricochet still offers skid plates.|
|Can Am Outlander Frame|
|Polaris Sportsman Frame|